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GHS Precision Flats - tight but loose - am I going insane?

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by Axstar, Dec 22, 2016.

  1. Axstar


    Jul 8, 2016
    East of Eden.
    Recently I decided to go off piste and try some different flatwound strings. My go-to type is D'Addario Chromes, once played in.

    I purchased the GHS Precision flats as I'd read that they were more vintage voiced than chromes, had a balanced feel and were less stiff than some popular flatwound types.

    What I'm finding seems to be the ultimate oxymoron. I've strung up my Mike Dirnt bass with the GHS Precisions, and they seem both high tension and loose, all at once. Is this possible? For example they seem to be putting a bit of tension on the neck, as there is now relief on the neck that it didn't have before. I currently have the truss rod nut adjusted as tightly as it will go; next stop is sticking washers behind the nut.

    Conversely I need to set the action pretty high to not run into fretting-out issues. Above the 12th fret seems a little rough on all strings, with notes consistently having that 'quacky' restricted quality I associate with too much neck relief. Notably the A string, and the D string to a lesser extent, slap off the last fret of the neck unless I'm really delicate with my right hand. While I appreciate the challenge of developing a light touch, when the slapping occurs I get a nasty plasticky attack to the notes. I'm wary because I'm recording more bass parts in January, and recording with a DI is brutal for picking up these things.

    Lastly, the G string just isn't happy unless I adjust it higher than the other strings in line with the radius of the neck. Because of the relief on the neck, as per above, the notes in the middle of the neck seem to have a blatty fret-out quality to them.

    Perhaps when the strings finally bed in this will all become tastefully muted and funky sounding, which brings me on to my next point. I've put about twenty hours on these strings, and they still haven't bedded in. How long does it take?

    For full disclosure, the bass is a 2008 Mexican Dirnt Bass with a newer Fender Badass II style bridge. The previous owner had the frets leveled and re-crowned and it arrived in my hands with a Gotoh 201 fitted, that I removed as the tail was lifting. I like a low action and a straight neck where possible.
  2. FantasticFour


    Dec 14, 2013
    I'm planning on installing a set. Will report tomorrow.
  3. Linnin


    Jul 19, 2012
    Linningrad, Earth
    No, it is not.
    Stop. Take your bass to professional luthier. You do not know what you are doing.
    bdplaid likes this.
  4. Axstar


    Jul 8, 2016
    East of Eden.
    Oh please, cut the patronising crap. I've owned a tonne of basses and been adjusting trussrods for years and years. I know what I'm doing. The trussrod is adjusted as tightly as it will go, but there is still relief on the neck. With Fender necks one prescribed remedy is to put a washer behind the trussrod nut to gain a little extra pull on the rod with the available length length of threaded rod, in a bid to get the neck flat.
  5. Linnin


    Jul 19, 2012
    Linningrad, Earth
    You very obviously do not know what you are doing at all. You can't even tell the difference between loose or tight!? Come on dude! Wake up, and go to a professional.
  6. Axstar


    Jul 8, 2016
    East of Eden.
    I'm here to discuss strings, not your lack of reading comprehension skills.
    soktau and organworthyplayer337 like this.
  7. Mikhail1


    Apr 8, 2008
    Ok, I'm going down the middle of the road here. Take the strings off and see if the neck goes back straight or back bows a bit. You may have a neck issue that suddenly manifested itself. But I agree I've never had a set of strings that felt both tight and loose at the same time.
    bdplaid likes this.
  8. Bodeanly

    Bodeanly Supporting Member

    Mar 20, 2015
    Did you go with a heavier gauge than usual? If my truss rod EVER got to the point of not being able to be turned in one direction or the other, I would, just as you have been advised, seek help from a qualified tech or luthier.
  9. Klonk


    Apr 28, 2011
    I can see how strings can feel loose and tight at the same time. It could be the difference between gauge and perceived flexibility. If you compare LaBella flats to the same gauge of Rotosound flats, they (obviously) have the same gauge, but the Rotos feel alot less flexible than the LaBellas to most people. Or it could be that they have a string-to-string balance that you are not used to. I haven't, however, experienced the same string feeling differently on different frets :(
    HaphAsSard likes this.
  10. First, understand the difference between "tension" (pulling weight on the neck) and "stiffness/flexibility" (how they feel under the fingers in terms of resistance/suppleness).

    Secondly, the GHS Precision Flats are notorious for taking a long time (3-6 mths) to settle properly both in terms of tonal consistency and overall feel. Multiple, incremental setup adjustments on the bass may be necessary during the initial break-in period. Be patient.
  11. Thuddy Waters

    Thuddy Waters

    Mar 20, 2015
    Phoenix, AZ
    I would like to vehemently disagree with Linnin and notify you that yes, it is possible. Below, you will find videographic evidence that it is possible for a liquid to be both wet and dry simultaneously, thereby proving that it is possible for GHS Precision Flats to be both high tension and loose at the same time. Exhibit A:

    Axstar likes this.
  12. FantasticFour


    Dec 14, 2013
    So... I installed the new set of GHS Precision on my SB-2 and nothing of what you described happened. I expected to have to adjust relief, but it proved unecessary. Perfect as is.
    Intonation WAS a hassle, but it was my first time on a fretless, so my lack of experience is probably more to blame than the strings. Oh, and the tone is superb! As far as I'm concerned it looks like they're a keeper.
  13. jmlee

    jmlee Catgut? Not funny. Supporting Member

    Jun 16, 2005
    Halifax, Nova Scotia
    That's so right. Really didn't like them at all for a couple of months and, now, they're absolutely marvelous on two of my basses. Tension on the neck is high but both that and feel seem to soften over time, perhaps with wrap migrating slightly toward the loading direction.
  14. FantasticFour


    Dec 14, 2013
    Uh-huh. I hope I'm gonna keep liking them!
  15. The tension on the neck is completely different from whether or not they feel stiff or flexible under your fingers. A string can feel stiff without having extra tension - or it can feel soft/flexible even though it may put equal or more tension on the neck.
    Chris Fitzgerald likes this.
  16. DuShauh


    Aug 29, 2011
    West Michigan
    Witness points ?? It could take months to settle in, if ever, without setting your witness points.
  17. DavidEdenAria


    Dec 13, 2013
    On a Hill
    This scares me to death....I do NOT want to wait months for flats to break-in as I don't play a lot and own several basses.
  18. Joedog


    Jan 28, 2010
    Pensacola FL
    It won't take months if you log the hours playing. Leaving it in the closet.......might be months. If you have several basses and don't play much......patience, grasshopper! The tone, come it will.
  19. I once discovered that you should never use flatwounds with a Badass bridge as they bring tons of bristling highs, overtones and sustain to a bass which is contrary to the thumpy darker, short-decay tone you expect with flatwounds. I kept thinking why does this jazz bass sound like poop? Until got back to the original "bent-metal" Fender bridge and I was happy. Badass bridges are awesome for modern techniques like slapping and so on.

    Yes a string may feel looser yet put more tension on the neck. But sounds to me that you should try lower your pickups and raising the action. Because you tend to play closer to the neck with flats, you can get away with having a higher action.

    I have tried almost every Flatwounds on the market and love GHS Precisions 95-45. They are thumpy but not as honky as let's say the LaBella Deep Talkin' which I like to. I play mostly Reggae and the best Reggae sound I get is always with the GHS's.
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2016
  20. I happen to like the combination of the Fender 9050CL flats and the BAII bridge on my Jazz for the semi-modern flatwound tone.

    That said, I can see why a BA bridge may not work with traditional flats like GHS and La Bella as they're supposed to be more for the "thumpy darker, short-decay tone".
    DavidEdenAria and Frenchy-Lefty like this.

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